Why the EU Needs to Stop Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia


Some European Union countries have decided to decline Saudi Arabia’s request for military equipment and supplies amid the ongoing war on Yemen.

But for the arms embargo to succeed, all EU countries also need to follow suit, meaning they should end their industry of death and impose an embargo on all deliveries of military equipment and weapons to Saudi Arabia. Otherwise, countries like Britain, which has so far sold close to $5 billion worth of arms to the regime in this year alone, will continue to be heavily implicated in the Saudi war crimes in Yemen.

EU countries including Britain have a duty to stop the flow of weapons to Riyadh-led forces in Yemen. This is particularly important, as Britain, Spain, France, Germany and the United States admit to being involved in giving intelligence and training to the pilots involved in the airstrikes against Yemeni civilian targets – in violation of UN arms embargoes and in direct violation of the EU’s own rules on weapons exports that are being used for acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and terrorism.

The EU countries cannot ignore calls to end their lethal trade either, as hundreds of thousands of people across the world are calling on the West to bring in an arms embargo on Riyadh, and stop members like Britain and the US making a killing off the Saudi killings in the name of “democracy” and War on Terror.

A new UN report has already lashed out at Saudi Arabia for being involved in breaches of humanitarian law in that war-torn country. The UN Human Rights Council says it has reliable evidence from humanitarian organizations including the head of UNICEF in Yemen that the Saudi-led coalition is involved in horrific actions that breach humanitarian law, including killing children.

Also according to experts from Physicians for Human Rights, Doctors Without Borders, and the Open Society Foundation, the growing number of indiscriminate bombings in Yemen by the Saudi-led and US-backed coalition is taking a heavy toll on medical personnel serving with humanitarian organizations. These attacks on schools, hospitals, and even wedding parties prevent medical care being provided to those in need – largely under siege.

Under international law, it is unlawful for the Saudi-led coalition to use indiscriminate weapons in civilian areas or through illegal blockade to obstruct the delivery of basic and life-saving supplies to civilian areas. It violates the other key principle of the laws of war which is that any attacks must be proportionate.

Before all this gets out of control, the European Union and the UN Security Council should condemn the Saudi-led violations and atrocities in the strongest possible terms. Sending the regime changers more arms and allowing them to continue the illegal war on the poorest nation in the Middle East will only make the situation worse.

The European Union and the UN Security Council have the power to refer the Saudi war crimes to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. They should take responsibility and stop being complicit and content to live with Saudi war crimes.